Bereaved dad 'heartbroken' after toys stolen from baby son's grave for second time in Derby

A small blue teddy bear, a butterfly, and another toy have now gone missing from the grave at Nottingham Road Cemetery in Derby.. Credit: BPM Media

A bereaved dad has been left heartbroken after toys were stolen from his baby son's grave for a second time in Derby.

30-year-old Stefan Taylor says it's 'horrible' to think he cannot leave items at his son Joseph's grave at Nottingham Road Cemetery without them being taken.

On 3 February 2020, Joseph was born weighing just 2lb, with no kidneys, bowels or genitals.

He was christened at Royal Derby Hospital before he died in his dad's arms.

Mr Taylor and Joseph's mum Chelby fundraised to give him a funeral and burial in the children's section of the cemetery.

Joseph was delivered via an emergency C-section seven weeks early after Chelby went for a scan.

A small blue teddy bear, a butterfly, and another toy have now gone missing from the grave, where Mr Taylor said he has also found scattered ball bearings from a BB gun.

He said he had not yet reported the thefts to Derby City Council, which is responsible for the cemetery.Mr Taylor said other people at the cemetery seem to have had similar experiences.

He said: "Talking to other people, it seems it's not the first time things have gone missing off the graves in this section.

"It's horrible to think that you cannot leave things on them because people will steal them from a tiny baby's grave. 

"I think there should be more patrols and possibly CCTV in this area because I think people come in here after hours and things happen then."I know people will say don't leave things but I want to leave things for Joseph. I go up when I can and I noticed that the things had gone. 

"After Joseph was buried, I put some artificial grass down and he has a wooden cross at the moment with his name on it but eventually I would like to get a headstone for him."

Joseph's parents spent three days with him at the hospital before finally saying goodbye.

Stefan Taylor, 30, visits his son Joseph's grave at Nottingham Road Cemetery in Derby as often as he can. Credit: BPM Media

A spokesman for Derby City Council said: "We understand the distress that is caused when items go missing from graves. We’re not aware, however, of any recent reports of such thefts."We take all reports of these incidents seriously and, when we receive them, we ask the local Public Protection Officer and Safer Neighbourhood Teams to increase out-of-hours patrols. 

"We also make our security firm aware of the incidents. While we advise not placing items of [monetary] or sentimental value on graves, we would encourage any thefts to be reported to us."